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An Assault Breacher Vehicle crosses in onto Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, during Exercise Desert March, March 27, 2017. He exercise was made to test the battalion’s capabilities in handling a long distance movement as well as test the battalion’s capabilities of logistically supporting the battalion throughout the exercise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

Exercise Desert March tests 1st Tanks

27 Mar 2017 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

The Marines of 1st Tank Battalion conducted Exercise Desert March, March 23-27, 2017, moving approximately 400 kilometers between the Combat Center and the U.S. Army’s National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Calif.

“The purpose of the exercise was to test our ability to logistically support a long-range movement through two different installations,” said Capt. Adam Link, assistant operations chief, 1st Tank Battalion. “We conduct movements through the Combat Center and keep our skills sharp, the exercise also provides Marines an opportunity to navigate through unfamiliar terrain.”

Two tank companies with approximately 90 vehicles participated in the exercise. While aboard Ft. Irwin, Marines conducted other types of training, including counter improvised explosive device and breaching and bridging operations.

“Moving to a new location gives us the opportunity to conduct training in a new environment,” Link said. “We also got to use land navigation and prepare for if we are ever asked to perform a movement like this during a deployment.”

The battalion used the five day long exercise to demonstrate how to best handle new situations and their ability to overcome any problems they could encounter during long-range movements.

“This was a good test for the new Marines who don’t usually get to go on any long-range movements,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Waitman, platoon sergeant, 1st Tanks. “The ability to just go somewhere different and add some unknowns to the equation for the Marines is a good way to see how well they would be able to adapt to their situation. They have done well in tackling the challenges that have been presented to them.”

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